Society of Early Americanists Conferences

The SEA hosts annual conferences. In odd-numbered years, the Society hosts an open-topic general conference known as the Biennial Conference. In even-numbered years, it hosts Special Topics conferences. The SEA also sponsors panels at our affiliated societies: the American Literature Association & the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Upcoming Conferences

The Society of Early Americanists Tenth Biennial Conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 2-4, 2017

The 2017 SEA Biennial will be anchored in downtown Tulsa, with special events at the University of Tulsa’s Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum of the Americas. There will be an optional field trip to the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah and a tour of the Tulsa Race Riot Memorial & Greenwood District (site of the 1921 race riot). Proposals for traditional or experimental format sessions on all aspects of early America are welcome, but we will be especially attentive to the question of the public in early America as well as the public place of early American studies today. Optional public outreach activities, especially involving local schools and teachers, will be available to interested attendees. There will be travel fellowships for graduate students & adjunct faculty, schoolteachers, tribal historians and curators. Plenary speakers will include Prof. William Warner of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

For more information about the conference, please see the SEA 2017 conference website here.

Thank you!

Laura Stevens
SEA President, 2015-17
Associate Professor of English
The University of Tulsa


The American Literature Association 28th annual conference, Boston, May 25-28, 2017

The Society of Early Americanists will be sponsoring the following three sessions at the American Literature Association 28th annual conference, Boston, May 25-28, 2017. Please join us!

[days and times tba]

Fake News in Early America I: Hoax, Rumor, and Power in the Colonies
Organized by the Society of Early Americanists

Chair: William Huntting Howell, Boston University

1.     “Serving the ‘Emperor of the Six Nations’: Tejonihokarawa Hendrick and the Power of ‘Bad Birds’ in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Colonial Politics,” John C. Winters, CUNY Graduate Center
2.     “Rumors, Violence, and the Transmission of Knowledge in Early America: Thomas McKee Turns Gossip into News in Colonial Pennsylvania,” Thomas J. Humphrey, Cleveland State University
3.     “The Hoax of ’63 & Comic Spirit of ’76: The Fake News of Francis Hopkinson,” K. A. Wisniewski, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
4.     “‘His Majesty’s Packet’: The Early Black Press in Jamaica and the Atlantic Circulation of (Fake) News,” Johanna F. Seibert, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Fake News in Early America II: Information Networks in the National Public Sphere
Organized by the Society of Early Americanists

Chair: Lydia G. Fash, Simmons College

1.     “The Algerines are Coming!: Fake News and Islamophobia in the Early Republic,” Jacob Crane, Bentley University
2.     “Atheism, Treason, and the ‘Columbian Illuminati,’” Kirsten Fischer, University of Minnesota
3.     “The Invisible King: Searching for Authentic News in an Age of Revolution,” Jordan Taylor, Indiana University
4.     “Thomas Paine: Celebrity Hypocrite,” Justine S. Murison, University of Illinois
5.     “The American Museum or Universal Magazine: A Case Study in the Emergence of Public Happiness and the Collapse of the Public Sphere,” Thomas Scanlan, Ohio University

Roundtable on Teaching Early American Literature in the Age of Trump
Organized by the Society of Early Americanists

Chair: Len von Morzé, University of Massachusetts Boston

1.     “Building a Wall?: Teaching for Structure in Early American Literature,” Matthew Duquès, University of North Alabama
2.     “Early American Economies and Inland Blues,” James Hewitson, University of Tennessee
3.     “Common Sense, the Declaration of Independence, and Other Fake News: Teaching the Historical Canon in a Post-Truth World,” Lily Santoro, Southeast Missouri State University
4.     “Informational Literacy in the American Literature Classroom,” Lydia G. Fash, Simmons College
5.     “Argumentation as Political Urgency,” Rachel Boccio, University of Rhode Island


Professor Len von Morzé
Society of Early Americanists ALA Conference liaison, 2014-2017
Department of English
University of Massachusetts Boston

The American Literature Association’s 28th annual conference will meet at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 25-28, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). For further information, please consult the ALA website at or contact the conference director, Professor Olivia Carr Edenfield at with specific questions.

The Society of Early Americanists Special Topics Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, March 1-4, 2018

Religion and Politics in Early America

CFP – Religion and Politics in Early America (Beginnings to 1820)

St. Louis, March 1-4, 2018

Sponsored by:
The Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
The Society of Early Americanists
St. Louis University
Washington University in St. Louis

Seeking Panel and Paper Proposals

We seek proposals for panels and individual papers for the special topics conference on Religion and Politics in Early America, March 1-4, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Individual papers are welcome, but preference will be given to completed panel submissions.

This conference will explore the intersections between religion and politics in early America from pre-contact through the early republic. All topics related to the way religion shapes politics or politics shapes religion—how the two conflict, collaborate, or otherwise configure each other—will be welcomed. We define the terms “religion” and “politics” broadly, including (for example) studies of secularity and doubt. This conference will have a broad temporal, geographic, and topical expanse. We intend to create a space for interdisciplinary conversation, though this does not mean that all panels will need be composed of multiple disciplines; we welcome both mixed panels and panels composed entirely of scholars from a single discipline.

Panels can take a traditional form (3-4 papers, with or without a respondent), roundtable form (5 or more brief statements with discussion), or other forms. 

Panel submissions must have the following:  
1. An organizer for contact information
2. Names and titles for each paper in the panel.
3. A brief abstract (no more than 250 words) for the panel.
4. A briefer abstract (no more than 100 words) for each paper.
5. Brief CV’s for each participant (no more than two pages each).

Individual paper submissions must include the following:
1. Name and contact information
2. Title
3. Abstract (no more than 150 words)
4. A brief CV (no more than two pages)

Please send your proposals to by Friday, May 26, 2017.
If you have any questions, please email Abram Van Engen at


Image Credit: Detail of the present-day Oklahoma region from Thomas Jefferys’ American Atlas: or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America (1776), courtesy of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, McFarlin Library, the University of Tulsa.

Updated: 02/13/17